Link Building for Software Development: What to Pay Attention to

Alexandra Tachalova
Founder of Digital Olympus
How can link building for software development companies be done the right way? Find everything you should know in this guide.
Link Building for Software Development: What to Pay Attention to

For software development companies, link building is one of the most important aspects of website optimization. It helps improve your site’s visibility to search engines and directs more traffic your way. But what are the key factors and tactics to keep in mind when conducting a link-building campaign for a software development company?

Let’s jump straight to the point and learn from real-life examples!

3 Reasons Link Building is Important for Software Development Companies

Let’s briefly go over three major benefits of link building for software development outsourcing companies.

Reason #1: Boosts authority

For starters, link building helps your website rank higher in search engine results. This is due to the fact that major search engines, like Google, use links as a primary factor in determining the relevance of a web page (backlinks are a part of the PageRank algorithm). With more relevant and high-quality links pointing back to your website, the Google search algorithm will recognize its importance and, therefore, rank it higher.

You will also see an increase in the site’s DR (domain authority). A website with higher DR tends to hit higher rankings since DR grows with the quality and quantity of acquired links — and as Backlinko’s study shows, the #1 position in Google has 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10.

How backlinks quantity influences Google rankings - analysis by Backlinko

How backlinks quantity influences Google rankings — Analysis by Backlinko

And here’s a real-life proof that quality backlinks and domain authority go hand-in-hand:

«At ScrapingBee, early on we focused on building quality links through relationships. For example, we helped students and researchers with their web data acquisition projects for free, and got a few sweet .edu backlinks this way.

We also developed deep relationships with leading industry newsletters, publications etc.

All of this allowed us to outrank our (many) competitors and grew our traffic like crazy." - Kevin Sahin, Founder & CEO at ScrapingBee.

Reason #2: Increases organic traffic

It’s been proven that a good backlink strategy can contribute to more organic traffic. In particular, to higher rankings of a concrete web page that results in more search traffic and prospective customers. That’s because when other websites link back to your website, it tells Google that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

Here’s real-life proof of how links impact rankings and organic traffic growth. Take a look at the direct correlation between increased organic traffic and the constant backlink growth of Hibob.

Hibob parallel growth of backlinks and organic traffic

Backlinks and organic traffic are closely related.

Let us share one more example.

«Over the course of approximately 18 months, we were able to successfully increase V7's organic traffic from roughly 5,000 to over 120,000 through the implementation of a comprehensive content strategy and a variety of link building techniques. Among the most impactful strategies we utilized were those aimed at building backlinks from authoritative .edu websites, specifically by targeting universities' resource pages. By linking our open machine learning (ML) datasets repository, a valuable and linkable asset, we were able to garner significant traction and bolster our online presence.

In addition to this, we also experimented with a strategy known as infographic link building. This approach enabled us to not only secure valuable backlinks, but also to showcase V7 on other pages frequented by our target audience. By creating engaging and informative infographics, graphics, and animations, we were able to establish ourselves as a valuable and authoritative resource within our industry, while simultaneously driving traffic back to our site." - Kas Szatylowicz, Head of Organic Growth at V7.

Reason #3: Creates relationships

Link building involves reaching out to people and establishing and nurturing strong partner relationships. This is especially important for software development companies, as it can lead to potential partnerships (customers) in the future. How does it happen?

Couple thought leadership content and guest posting and internal content marketing together. Say you’ve secured a guest post on a well-known media outlet or company’s blog. So think about a piece that will appeal to your decision-makers. Then, reach out to them for a quote and embed it in your piece. Over some time, contact them again with a new request to include in a post published on your blog.

This way, you’re making a meaningful first touch with your prospective customers and, in parallel, showcasing your expertise on a subject. What’s left is to hand off them to the sales department or target them with your brand ad campaigns.

An AdTech software development company does just that.

Xenoss blog post with an expert quote

Xenoss’s blog post with an invited expert.

These are just the basics — but they’re important to keep in mind when pondering whether you need to invest in link building and how an outsourcing development company can benefit from it.

Types of Software Development Companies that Need Link Building

Different types of software development companies rely heavily on search engine optimization to attract potential customers, making it essential for them to build strong backlink profiles in order to rank well in the SERPs. So what types of businesses should consider link building first of all?

Type #1: App development companies

Since apps are becoming more popular than ever before, hitting 230 billion downloads in 2021, it stands to reason that app development companies should invest in link building to compete in organic search. By building links to targeted pages from authoritative websites, these companies can boost their visibility and attract more customers.

As such, Buildfire earns backlinks to its landing page devoted to custom mobile app development.

Buildfire organic traffic and backlink growth correlation

Buildfire’s link profile.

Guess what? It’s working. That page firmly occupied the #1 position in Google ranking by fat transactional keywords.

Keywords Buildfire’s landing page ranks for - Ahrefs report

Keywords Buildfire’s landing page ranks for, Ahrefs.

Type #2: Web development companies

One-stop-shop web development companies need to harness the power of link building as well, as it’s a great way to increase their website traffic and establish themselves as an industry leader. By creating backlinks on niche-related websites, web development companies can make sure their content is seen by the right people.

Type #3: eCommerce development companies

Link building is also beneficial for eCommerce software development companies as the market is saturated, so it takes extra effort and smart moves to win the SERP.

That said, it’s time to learn five winning tactics to get backlinks for software development companies.

How to Acquire Backlinks as a Software Development Company

All strategies in this section are tried and tested by Digital Olympus and accompanied by first-hand experience of SEO pros from software development companies.

Way #1: Link exchange

Link exchange is a no-brainer tactic about finding niche-related blogs and adding your link to their website in exchange for a link to their website on yours. It’s an easy way to acquire backlinks if you have peers in the software development industry. However, it’s not scalable, and direct cross-linking violates Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Google Webmaster Guidelines regarding spam

Hold on. Why do we then use this tactic?

Because there’s a wiser and more fruitful approach to link exchanges paired with guest posting. With that, you can gain up to 50 high-quality backlinks, publishing just 10 guest posts. Intriguing? The logic beyond is simple — partner up with non-competitive but industry-relevant companies and offer them to place links to each other in every relevant guest post (third-party sources).

«At Hunter, we write about 10 guest posts per month, but for every 10 guest posts we publish, we can build between 20 and 50 backlinks by collaborating with other guest bloggers.
Usually, websites allow 1−5 external backlinks. So you add 1 backlink to your domain and 4 to your partners. You expect that partners will reciprocate and build great backlinks to your domain.
That means you generated 5 backlinks from unique domains with a single guest post. If you write 10 guest posts per month, that can easily be 50 backlinks.» — Antonio Gabrić, Outreach Manager at Hunter

You can also find professional link building communities for that on Facebook and Slack. Here are several of them:

Don’t rely on this tactic alone. Diversify your approach and backlink sources with the following methods.

Way #2: Guest posting

Guest blogging (or blogger outreach) is another popular strategy for acquiring backlinks if you’re a software development company. You can write a quality blog post for another website in the same industry and link back to your own website in the process.

This is a great way to boost content pieces and landing pages that drive the most conversions and sales-qualified leads.

Here’re some tips for kick-starting successful link building outreach campaigns:

1) Identify your target audience and find websites and blogs that cater to them.

2) Reach out to blog owners and offer to write a guest blog post for them. Ensure to explain why your content is valuable to their audience and how it will benefit them. For instance, mention in your pitch that you’ll spice up a piece with SMEs' quotes, statistics, your unique experience, etc.

Guest blogging email outreach example appealing to editors

Guest blogging email outreach example appealing to editors.

3) Write high-quality, engaging content that will appeal to the target audience of the websites you plan to guest on.

4) Include a link to your target URL within the piece and in the bio section.

5) Once your guest post is published, promote it on social media and other relevant channels to drive traffic to it. This nice gesture can result in more guest posts in the future and backlink collaborations. Also, follow up with the editor to thank them for publishing your piece.

Sounds simple? If only you knew how many link builders neglect these recommendations and pitch completely irrelevant, corny articles.

On top of that, we strongly recommend you work with PitchBox, a link building software, to streamline guest posting efforts. PithBox has functionality for link prospecting, finding editors' contact information, analyzing domain and page authority, launching outreach campaigns, and more. We use it every day.

Way #3: Broken link building

The idea behind broken link building is to find niche-related websites that point to broken pages and offer a substitute for a broken link so that the website now refers to a high-quality working source. There’re some tips on how to benefit from this strategy.

First, we recommend hunting for broken links that have amassed a decent number of referring domains. Let’s learn from an example. So you analyze competing or niche sites with Ahrefs’s Best by links report applying the «404 not found» filter and sort websites by referring domains.

This way, you discover broken pages that get links from other domains. The higher the number of referring domains, the more link opportunities you get.

You then contact website owners and ask them to replace the broken link in content with yours. Webmasters will gladly make this change if your content is top-notch and appealing to readers.

How to find broken links with Ahrefs

How to find broken links with Ahrefs.

It’s important to note that broken link building can be time-consuming and may not always be effective. It’s also important to only fix broken links that are relevant to your website and that come from reputable websites.

Way #4: Link intersect

This is a method of analyzing competitors' backlinks to find websites that link to them but not to you. Here’s how to do it:

1) Use a backlink checker tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to find out which websites link to your competitors' sites. Just paste 2 or more domains and yours to compare. This way, we’ve discovered 17,000+ link opportunities for Buildfire, but of course, they need to pass the «quality control» (aka website evaluation) to be counted as good.

Backlink analysis with the Ahrefs link intersect tool

Backlink analysis with the Ahrefs link intersect tool.

2) Sort out pages by domain rating (DR) to discover prominent prospects.

3) Analyze the articles, context, and anchor text of each piece where your competitors are mentioned.

4) Brainstorm somewhat similar but richer content ideas and pitch them to the webmasters as guest posts.

And now we’re heading to one of the most promising strategies for link building for software development. Get ready!

Way #5: Building links from SaaS websites

We at Digital Olympus favor this strategy over any other. So why build links from SaaS, and what’s in it?

The point is that SaaS companies constantly invest in their online presence since the majority drive leads from organic traffic. This means they grow in a DR over time, and you can start building links to the DR20(25+) SaaS to get a link from a DR of 40−60 SaaS in 3−6 months.

Why is it important?

It’s easier to acquire links from young companies but also more prolific in terms of long-term results. You can put an enormous effort into acquiring a DR80+ link from one site, or you will get 10−30−50+ links of a DR 50+ within 3−6 months. In the end, the latter passes you more link equity and advances your site in rankings faster.

Besides, reputation matters in this case, too:

«Some content naturally attracts links. Statistics, reports, and data studies are great for that. Other content is harder to build links for. Yes, your content should be great on its own, but often your author’s brand, expertise, or domain’s reputation won’t be enough to compete at the top of the SERPs. That’s where working with other SaaS brands can come in handy and can help your content give a little boost.» — Michal Leszczynski, Head of Content Marketing & Partnerships at GetResponse.

So find relevant SaaS companies and start out creating valuable connections right away.

Bonus: What to Pay Attention to When Creating a Link Building Strategy

When creating a link building strategy, it’s important to keep the following things in mind:

Focus on quality over quantity when acquiring backlinks.

Aim for high-quality backlinks from relevant websites with good domain authority, as relevancy is key to ranking algorithms — the Penguin algorithm in particular. As with the example above of links from SaaS sites, the relevance works similarly.

You’ll get more of an immediate and long-term impact when building links to niche-close websites rather than to trashy, irrelevant sites for the sake of landing more links. In fact, the latter will might give you an immediate boost, BUT it’s damaging in the long run since Google can easily pinpoint this trick and suspend your site.

Keep track of your progress and improve your strategies.

What works for others doesn’t automatically mean it’s bound to work for you. Why? Because link building is about building human connections, polishing pitches, excelling at negotiations, being smart pants at digital PR (yes, for approaching linkable assets), and much more. With that, you should try all the tactics but pinpoint what actually makes a difference (aka brings more links).

Monitor your backlinks.

This is about making sure the backlinks you’ve built are still active and that the websites linking to you are still considered high-authority sources. How to track changes to backlink profiles on autopilot? For instance, you can use some of the best link building tools for monitoring backlink statutes to get notified instantly when a change occurs.

At Digital Olympus, we use Linkody to check out the status of the links built for our customers. When the lost links are spotted, we proactively respond to the issue and reach out to webmasters to address it.

Focus on long-term link building strategies.

Apart from guest blogging and earning links from SaaS, you can massively benefit from creating linkable assets — original pieces of content of paramount value to which journalists and your target audience are inherently drawn to.

For example, SpdLoad reaps the benefits from an article about the cost of app development. So far, this page alone has earned over 533 referring domains.

The number of referring domains to the page - Ahrefs Chrome extention

The number of referring domains to the page.

Examples of linkable assets are infographics, free tools, free templates, data studies, free calculators, and more.

We also recommend using HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or HAB2BW (Help a B2B Writer) platforms for unlocking link building opportunities on major blogs and media. On top of that, you can build links via reverse engineer image search, resource pages, and by giving testimonials.

Consider outsourcing your link building efforts.

Lacking time or resources to scale link building or creating link building strategy yourself? Hire an experienced link building agency to handle your strategies for you. Ask for references and proof of successful link building campaigns for software development, what white hat tactics they consider the most prominent for you, and why.

Ask if an agency can build links to certain pages to their rankings and what’s their advice on the link building strategy to get the most out of it. We at Digital Olympus closely analyze clients' businesses and current SEO strategies before embarking on projects. We want to make sure our customers get not only vanity metrics like the number of links built per month but will see the real business impact in organic traffic growth and prospects.

Want to chat about our link building services? Book a call with a Senior Link Building Strategist to discuss your project and get recommendations.

Now Over to You

All in all, the link building process for software development companies is about thorough analysis of the SERP and catering different tactics to your business and SEO metrics. Opt for long-term tactics and avoid at all costs spammy and low-quality websites to build links to since it might damage your rankings.

Passionate about link building and want to see more tips and tricks? In our blog, we share our extensive 6-year knowledge and invite leading experts to create content together. Check it out!

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